By Tony Ubani
Nigerian officials have been banned from talking to the media. The decision was taken before now but it was only revealed yesterday.
“They have told us never to talk to the media and that Nigeria will have a spokesman who will talk to the media on all issues,” one top official told us yesterday at the gate of the Games Village.
The official added that this decision was even taken before the games and it is expected to still be enforced throughout the games.
All officials and athletes are affected. But it is doubtful if this will work because, by international and Olympic standards, athletes and coaches are mandated to meet and talk with the media at the Mixed Zones and press conferences shortly after their events.
The Mixed Zones are the paths athletes walk through after their events to the dressing rooms. And press conferences are held immediately after each event.
Sports, they say, are media events. International bodies know that sports cannot grow without the media. They need the media hype for marketing, they need the media to attract fans to the venues and they need the media to promote athletes and their sports.
Sports cannot thrive without the media. They know this and after the athletes the media come next in order of priority in the Olympic Games.
World Cup, Commonwealth Games and other international competitions. Nigerian officials are yet to embrace this largely because of their shortcomings in areas of administration, fear of poor performances and sometimes the need to cover up some ills.
They have made an order that they cannot enforce here although they may succeed in a way because the athletes and officials may speak only on their games but sports federations and their leaders must not talk to the media. The Nigerian team has a media attache who is expected to issues all statements from Nigeria.